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Embed Design in Your Digital Customer Strategy for Best Results

By: Elaine Fogel


Want the Best Digital Customer Service

Of course you want your customers to have the best digital strategy and customer experience (CX)! Who wouldn’t?

Have you ever heard of “design-led” or “design thinking?” Here are two definitions:

“Design is seen as a strategic differentiator for the organization. Formal design processes are established for marketing, product, and customer experience initiatives. Design is integral to shaping digital CX and is involved at every stage when strategy is being set.” (Adobe/Forrester Consulting)

“It means making design an integral part of every thought process in your company’s marketing (and product development or service offerings), and can be the line between success and failure, between blending into the sea of mediocrity and standing out, between ultra-creative thinking and what everyone else does.” (Yvonne Lyons, “The Rise of the Design-Led Company — Don’t Be Left Behind,” Right Source Marketing)

So, does it work? You bet!

Companies that embed CX design in their customer strategy achieve tangible business benefits. Moreover, we found that the more that design is embedded in digital CX strategy, the more these benefits are achieved.

Want to see the proof?

  • Nearly half (46%) of design leaders cited creating an emotional bond with customers as a defining characteristic of an advanced design practice. Under one-third of those in the non-design-led cohort felt the same.
  • Almost half (46%) of companies that don’t embed design in digital CX strategy reported that their digital CX is on par or weaker than competitors while 70% of design-led companies reported having a stronger or best-in-class digital experience compared with competitors.
  • Forty-one percent of design leaders reported greater market share as an advantage to having more advanced design practices, and 46% listed competitive advantage/wins as another advantage.
  • Fully half of design-led respondents reported more satisfied and loyal customers as a benefit of advanced design practices.
  • In the United States from 2004-2014, design-led companies outperformed the S&P 500 index by more than 219%! (Design Management Institute)
  • Designis considered the next level on the path to digital transformation, with 86% of survey respondents agreeing that design-driven companies outperform other businesses. (2017 Digital Trends, Econsultancy/Adobe)

3 Key Findings

  1. The impact of collaborative design processes, which are embraced and facilitated by users and leadership alike, is broad-reaching in a differentiated practice. In design-led firms, design permeates the organization beyond the product teams; it’s embedded in the culture. And there is an ambition to always do better.
  2. Design staff, leaders, and overall employee belief in the value of design are all important components of a design-led organization. These companies support a range of skills, from more senior or more strategically oriented designers to more junior or more tactical designers. Teams use collaborative processes and tools to unify working groups.
  3. Design-led firms embed tactical and production-level design from strategy through application across the user’s experience. Design is used both at the strategy-setting level and to tell a consistent story across the user experience. Design focuses on experience design as much as visual design, and there is a shared brand vision among employees, who internalize design as a core value of the organization.

Where does your brand fit in?

“Customers expect seamless experiences that span devices; they can interact with your brand whenever and wherever they’d like, and they expect every encounter to meet their needs in the moment. For today’s companies, this means the brand experience/story is paramount, and it must be consistent across touchpoints, devices, channels, and moments for customers — as well as across organizational groups, strategy, and vision for employees.” (“Design-led firms win the business advantage” (Adobe/Forrester Consulting)

“Design is to business what evolution is to nature: it enables brands to change and survive. It is becoming less a visual strategy than a means of facilitating continuous dialogue and building emotional connections in a complex world. And with it, opening up infinite opportunities for businesses.” (Lee Coomber, “Why design-led companies do better in business,” DigitalArts)

You may be thinking that this process is for enterprise businesses, but it can be adapted to any sized business or nonprofit organization.

“Companies hoping to drive customer loyalty and stand out in an increasingly competitive landscape filled with a growing number of digital touchpoints and rising customer expectations must put design at the core of their business.” (Adobe/Forrester Consulting)

Where to start?

Rather than give you a laundry list of things to do, I discovered this excellent video from Daylight Design that explains design thinking and gives you a tangible example.

Published: June 19, 2023

Source: Elaine Fogel

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